Six players scored in double figures for a robust TNT offense that hummed past an undermanned San Miguel side 107-88 in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Friday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
The Tropang Giga came roaring out of the gates in the first quarter and pulled the plug on a Beermen rally in the third quarter on their way to reclaiming solo lead in the standings at 3-0.
Poy Erram took advantage of a thin San Miguel frontline and put up his best game in a TNT jersey so far, scoring a career-high 27 points on 10-for-16 shooting and grabbing 15 rebounds in 28 minutes to lead all scorers.
"We're really working hard and we're helping each other so we all improve individually," Erram said during the walk-off interview. "And we trust each other as a family."
Ray Parks followed up his 40-point explosion last Tuesday with an efficient 22-point game on 8-for-11 shooting to go with six boards. Troy Rosario added 16 and eight, while Roger Pogoy put up 15 before resting a bum ankle in the fourth. Jayson Castro and Simon Enciso added 11 and 10, respectively, in a balanced offensive show.
"We're still adjusting to our system and we're just fortunate to have guys like Roger, Ray-Ray and now Poy step up tonight," coach Bong Ravena said after the game. "We just took advantage of our opponent because they're not in fine tune yet."
"They're a champion team. Even without (June Mar) Fajardo, we couldn't take our chances and just relax. We had to be serious in playing against them," Ravena added.
TNT raced to an 11-2 start as Parks and Pogoy, which scored 20 of the team's 30 points in the first quarter, fueled the offense to lead the team to a 12-point lead over the error-prone Beermen at the end of the opening frame.
After San Miguel's Terrence Romeo left the game with a shoulder injury with 4:57 left in the second frame, TNT turned an eight-point lead into a 50-35 advantage capped by an Erram fadeaway in a mismatch down under.
Another 7-0 spurt punctuated by an Erram triple gave the Tropang Giga a comfortable 57-38 cushion to end the half. Parks, Pogoy and Erram combined for 38 to tie SMB's output in the first half.
San Miguel turned it into a close contest by unleashing a 12-0 run to open the third and cut it to seven, but TNT stayed in control thanks to a big quarter from Erram, who scored 12 of the next 14 for the Tropang Giga to restore the lead to double-digits, 71-59.
After the Beermen threatened once more by cutting it to seven, 71-64, with 4:47 left, TNT put its foot down and outscored their counterparts 21-6 in the next four minutes to enter the final period with a commanding 22-point lead, 92-70. Enciso scored all 10 of his points during that rally.
TNT cruised the rest of the way and sent San Miguel (1-2) reeling to its second consecutive loss inside the bubble.
Alex Cabagnot scored 15 points to lead the Beermen, while Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross threw in 14 and 13 each. Romeo ended with 11 points on three 3s before leaving the game, while Arwind Santos also finished with 11 to go with 10 rebounds.
TNT (107) -- Erram 27, Parks 22, Rosario 16, Pogoy 15, Castro 11, Enciso 10, Reyes 3, Flores 3, Semerad 0, De Leon 0, Alejandro 0, Vosotros 0, Washington 0.
San Miguel (88) -- Cabagnot 15, Lassiter 14, Ross 13, Romeo 11, Santos 11, Tautuaa 9, Zamar 5, Pessumal 3, Mamaril 2, Escoto 2, Gamalinda 2, De Guzman 1, Alolino 0, Comboy 0.
Quarters: 30-18, 57-38, 92-70, 107-88.
• Romeo is undergoing evaluation at The Medical City in Clark for his shoulder injury. The hospital is still part of the bubble. TNT, meanwhile, is hoping the ankle sprain Pogoy sustained early in the fourth quarter isn't serious. "Good thing we have two days of rest. He sprained his ankle but hopefully it's not severe and we'll see tonight how it is," said Ravena, whose team is already missing Kib Montalbo to a plantar fasciitis.
• TNT is attempting a league-high 43 shots from deep in three games so far and are making a healthy 33.8 percent from that area. "We hope that we can sustain that output every night," said Ravena. "But we don't want to fall in love with 3s. I know it can be a big help, but in shooting threes there may be one off night. So we have to adjust our penetration this time. We're just lucky we're hitting our outside shots."
• TNT vs. Phoenix on Monday, Oct. 19, at 4 p.m
• San Miguel vs. Terrafirma on Monday, Oct. 19 at 6:45 p.m